Moving to Estonia

A Comprehensive Guide On Moving to Estonia

If you’re looking for a country that offers reasonable living costs, a rich historical heritage, stunning coastlines, and captivating medieval cities, Estonia might just be the perfect destination for you. Tucked away in the heart of old-world Northern Europe, Estonia may be relatively small in size, but it boasts a wealth of opportunities and experiences waiting to be discovered. In recent years, the expat community has been growing steadily, playing a significant role in the population growth of this vibrant country. If you’re considering joining the international community in Estonia, this comprehensive guide will provide you with valuable insights into the entire relocation process and the compelling reasons why making Estonia your new home could be an excellent decision.

Who Can Move to Estonia?

The process of moving to Estonia varies based on your nationality, whether you’re an EU national or a non-EU national:

EU/EEA and Swiss Nationals

EU/EEA and Swiss nationals can easily move to Estonia without the need for a visa application. However, if they intend to stay in Estonia for longer than 90 days, there are specific requirements they must fulfill.

Non-EU/EEA/Swiss Nationals

Non-EU/EEA/Swiss nationals who wish to move to Estonia need to apply for an Estonia long-stay visa. With this visa, they can then apply for a temporary residence permit, allowing them to extend their stay beyond the initial visa period.

Moving to Estonia as an EU Citizen

For EU/EEA and Swiss citizens, the process of moving to Estonia is relatively straightforward. They are not required to apply for an Estonia visa. Instead, they can enter the country using a valid travel document or identification card and stay for up to three months. To extend their stay, they need to register their place of residence in the Estonian population register within the first month of arrival and apply for an Estonian ID card at the Police and Border Guard Board.

Moving to Estonia as a Non-EU Citizen

Non-EU/EEA/Swiss citizens, on the other hand, must follow a different process:

  1. Long-Stay Visa Application: Non-EU/EEA/Swiss nationals must apply for a long-stay work visa if their intention is to work in Estonia. This visa is valid for a year.
  2. Temporary Residence Permit: Upon entering Estonia, they must apply for a temporary residence permit at the Police and Border Guard Board. This permit is issued for five years and can be renewed for up to ten years.
  3. Digital Nomad Visa: Freelancers can also work in Estonia using the digital nomad visa, valid for one year. Afterward, they can apply for another long-stay visa to extend their stay.
  4. EU Blue Card Residence Permit: Skilled workers can seek job opportunities in Estonia. However, they must first apply for an Estonia EU Blue Card residence permit.

Moving to Estonia for Study

If you have aspirations to study in Estonia, applying for a student visa is a crucial step. With this visa, you can study, work, and live in Estonia for up to one year. For studies lasting longer than a year, you’ll need to apply for a temporary residence permit, which is typically issued for five years. After completing your studies, you’ll have an additional nine months to search for a job. If successful, you can then apply for a temporary residence permit for work purposes.

Moving to Estonia for Family Reunification

For those planning to reunite with family members in Estonia, applying for a family visa is necessary. Eligibility for the family visa includes being a spouse/partner, dependent child, parent or grandparent, or dependent family member (older than 65 years) of someone living in Estonia. Once in the country, a temporary residence permit can be obtained, allowing for an extended stay of up to five years.

Moving Permanently to Estonia

After residing legally in Estonia for five years with a temporary residence permit, you can apply for a permanent residence permit, allowing you to stay permanently. The application for permanent residence must be submitted at least two months before your temporary residence permit expires, and it is processed by the service offices of the Police and Border Guard Board.

How to Obtain Citizenship in Estonia

There are several pathways to obtaining citizenship in Estonia:

  1. Citizenship by Naturalization: After legally residing in Estonia for five years with a permanent residence permit, you can apply for citizenship by naturalization.
  2. Citizenship by Descent: If one of your parents is an Estonian citizen, you can acquire citizenship by descent. You may also be eligible if your Estonian parents revoked their citizenship before you turned 18, and you wish to reinstate it.
  3. Citizenship by Marriage: If you are married to an Estonian citizen or a holder of permanent residence in Estonia, you can obtain citizenship by marriage.

Moving Your Belongings to Estonia

When your visa is approved, you can begin considering how to transport your belongings to Estonia. You have the option of shipping your items via air, land, or water, depending on your preferences and circumstances. EU residents generally face fewer tax restrictions, while non-EU residents may need to navigate more complex customs procedures. To be eligible for tax exemptions, you should have owned your belongings for at least six months. Keep in mind that items imported to Estonia cannot be sold within twelve months of their importation. If you’re bringing a vehicle, you must register it within five days of clearing customs.

Moving With Pets to Estonia

Bringing your beloved pets to Estonia is indeed possible, provided you adhere to the necessary requirements:

  • Each pet must have a microchip for identification.
  • Pets traveling from the EU require an EU pet passport issued by an authorized veterinarian.
  • Pets traveling from a non-EU country need a health certificate issued by an authorized veterinarian at least ten days before travel.
  • Health certificates must be accompanied by a declaration of non-commercial movement signed by the pet owner or an authorized person.
  • You can move with a maximum of five pets.

Pros and Cons of Moving to Estonia

While Estonia has much to offer, it’s essential to weigh the pros and cons before making a decision:


  • Cost of Living: Estonia is one of Europe’s most affordable countries, with living costs significantly lower than in many other nations.
  • Digital Society: Estonia is renowned for its advanced digital infrastructure, enabling seamless online transactions and services.

Moving Your Belongings to Estonia: A Step-by-Step Guide

Once you’ve made the decision to move to Estonia, you’ll need to consider how to bring your belongings with you. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you navigate the process:

Visa Approval

Before you start planning the logistics of moving your belongings, ensure that your visa application has been approved. This will dictate your legal status and the duration of your stay in Estonia.

Choose a Shipping Method

You have several options for shipping your belongings to Estonia: air, land, or water. The choice depends on factors like budget, time constraints, and the volume of your belongings.

Tax Restrictions

If you’re a resident of the EU, you won’t face tax restrictions when bringing your belongings into Estonia. However, non-EU residents need to be aware of complex customs procedures.

Ownership Duration

To qualify for tax exemption, you generally need to have owned your belongings for at least six months before moving. Keep in mind that items imported to Estonia cannot be sold within the first twelve months after importation.

Register Your Vehicle

If you’re bringing a vehicle with you, ensure that you register it within five days of clearing customs. This is a legal requirement and will help you smoothly integrate your vehicle into Estonian society.

Moving with Pets: Ensuring a Smooth Transition

If you’re a pet owner, moving to Estonia with your furry friends requires careful preparation. Here’s what you need to know:

  1. Microchip Identification: Every pet must have a microchip for identification.
  2. EU Pet Passport: If you’re traveling from the EU, your pet should have an EU pet passport issued by an authorized veterinarian.
  3. Non-EU Travel: If you’re traveling from a non-EU country, your pet will need a health certificate issued by an authorized veterinarian ten days before departure.
  4. Declaration of Movement: Health certificates should be accompanied by a declaration of non-commercial movement signed by you or an authorized person.
  5. Maximum Pet Limit: You’re allowed to move with a maximum of five pets.

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What is the Cost of Living in Estonia Compared to other European Countries

The cost of living in Estonia is generally lower than in many other European countries. According to the World Data Info, the average monthly income in Estonia is €2,260, while the prices of consumer goods are around 28.5% lower than in the USA. The cost of living in Estonia is also lower than in many other European countries, with living costs for students ranging from €300 to €500 per month. Rent in Estonia is, on average, 65.5% lower than in the USA. Overall, the cost of living in Estonia is considered affordable, with a comfortable lifestyle being achievable for a reasonable cost.

What are the Job Opportunities for Expats in Estonia

Estonia offers a range of job opportunities for expats, particularly in industries like IT, engineering, and education. Here is an overview based on the search results:

1. Popular Job Options:
– Hospitality Industry: Positions in hotels, restaurants, and cafes are common for expats, including roles like waitstaff and bartenders.
– English Teaching: Opportunities exist in language schools or as private tutors, especially for native English speakers.
– IT Sector: Estonia’s tech-savvy culture provides job prospects in the IT industry, with a focus on digital initiatives and start-ups.

2. Economic Overview:
– Estonia has a relatively high GDP per capita compared to other central European countries, with a growing economy and flourishing industries like service, wood, electronics, machinery manufacturing, and metal exports.

3. Work Permits:
– As of September 2013, Estonia ceased issuing separate work permits. Foreigners with a residence permit can work in Estonia unless legally prohibited. Spouses of EU citizens need their own residence permit to work.

4. Job Hunting:
– Websites like CV Online and CV Keskus are useful for job searches.
– Job fairs can help find employment opportunities.
– Opportunities in IT, engineering, English teaching, and entrepreneurship are prevalent.
– Learning Estonian can expand job prospects as it opens up more opportunities.

5. Living in Tallinn:
– Tallinn is the financial hub of Estonia with a growing economy driven by information technology, logistics, and tourism.
– Expats can find business opportunities and a wealth of job options in Tallinn.

Estonia’s dynamic economy, tech-friendly environment, and diverse job market make it an attractive destination for expats seeking career growth and new opportunities.

Embracing Estonia’s Charm

In conclusion, your journey to move to Estonia is an exciting opportunity to immerse yourself in a land of history, innovation, and natural beauty. By understanding the visa process, considering transportation methods for your belongings, and ensuring a smooth transition for your pets, you’ll be well-prepared to embrace your new life in Estonia.

Choosing Your Perfect Home in Estonia

Now that you’re prepared to make the move to Estonia, you might be wondering where to set up your new home. Here are some popular cities for expats that offer unique experiences:

Tallinn: The Medieval Marvel

Tallinn, the capital city of Estonia, is a charming blend of history and modernity. Its Old Town, recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, features cobblestone streets and medieval architecture. Despite its size, Tallinn boasts a vibrant cultural scene with concerts, art exhibitions, and events throughout the year.

Parnu: A Summer Paradise

Known as the summer capital, Parnu attracts visitors with its pristine beach, white sands, and picturesque dunes. Beyond the beach, Parnu offers a wellness haven with mud baths and rejuvenating experiences.

Tartu: The Intellectual Oasis

Tartu, Estonia’s second-largest city, exudes a bohemian and laid-back atmosphere. As a hub of learning and culture, it’s home to the University of Tartu. Accessible transit, green spaces, and quality healthcare contribute to a comfortable lifestyle.

Saaremaa: Tranquil Island Haven

For a peaceful escape, Saaremaa, the largest Estonian island, offers a quiet and serene environment. With diverse landscapes and a small population, it’s a place to find tranquility and space.

Fun Facts That Define Estonia

Dive into the quirky and intriguing aspects of Estonia that add to its charm:

  • More than half of Estonia’s land is covered by lush forests.
  • The country boasts an impressive count of 2,000 islands, 1,000 lakes, and 7,000 rivers.
  • Estonia’s modeling industry produces an extraordinary number of international supermodels.
  • With two UNESCO World Heritage sites, Estonia proudly preserves its cultural heritage.
  • Estonia’s digital advancements have earned it a reputation as a leading digital society.
  • Despite its rich history, Estonia ranks as one of the least religious countries globally.
  • Estonia celebrates two independence days.

Embrace the Estonian Adventure

As you embark on your journey to move to Estonia, remember that this small country offers an array of experiences waiting to be discovered. Whether you’re drawn to the medieval charm of Tallinn, the beach haven of Parnu, the intellectual oasis of Tartu, or the tranquility of Saaremaa, Estonia has something for everyone. Embrace the adventure, immerse yourself in the culture, and relish the opportunity to call Estonia your new home.